About this Show

C-SPAN Weekend

News/Business.

NETWORK

DURATION
02:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
Annapolis, MD, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 81 (567 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Creeley 15, Louisiana 13, Us 10, Mr. Schiff 9, New Orleans 7, Wallace 6, Marcotte 5, Aubrey Wallace 5, Fbi 4, Lifemark 4, Washington 4, Mr. Lightfoot 4, Tom Wilkinson 3, Clinton 3, Holmes 3, Gardner 3, The F.b.i. 3, Creely 3, Porteous 2, Amato 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    C-SPAN Weekend    News/Business.  

    September 19, 2010
    10:30 - 1:00pm EDT  

10:30am
sebelius has been our guest on "newsmakers". thank you. susan, well, you both asked about the election and whether or not the democratic candidates are embracing or running away from. she said they are embracing. is that what you are seeing, health care as an issue? guest: it has been mixed. the secretary did mention that there are some people who are running away from the bill. what we have seen is that there have been a lot more house democrats who voted against the legislation who are htouting that fact. you're not hearing as much from the moderate democrats who walked the plank and took the vote in rivers and were told by democratic leaders that this would be something that there would be able to campaign on in november, that they would have something to show for as opposed to having nothing to show for. of you are not hearing a lot from them. guest: i think what happened is
10:31am
the plan to use health care as a campaign issue is the academy economy overshadowed everything. people are first and foremost concerned about having a job. you need to have a job first. that is where people's minds seem to be. host: what else did you hear from the secretary? guest: she talked about the health insurance companies and working with them. there seems to be concern on wall street about what exactly will happen when all the provisions are put in place, how well the company's react? what is their bottom line? for consumers, they should care about bettincourthat. if they do consolidate, that is an issue for people. guest: she did not give an indication that she thought there would be -- there should be a federal rate review.
10:32am
now, even though we are seeing some of these premium increases, she made it clear that she thinks states will have the tools they need in order to keep insurance premiums from going up on unfairly. she thinks states will be able to keep those premiums from taking effect. host: she is a former governor of kansas and a former state commissioner, but she seemed to emphasize states' rights quite a bit during this conversation. guest: that is the issue that brings up the topic you address, which is the lawsuit where we see that battle playing out right now. she brought up the gap between now and 2014 and some of these reforms are set to address that. there is this question for people, if you are not someone 26 and under or high risk, what do you do between now and 2014? we saw that with the numbers on
10:33am
thursday, it is an issue. guest: it is challenging showing people tangible ways in which this bill will help them between now and 2014, especially if they have coverage. one of the things that has been big for the administration has been pushing this staying on your parents' plan until age 26. what consumers have found it is when they call the insurance company they are not doing that until january when the new plan year starts. you have people with kids who are graduating in the spring and called insurance to take advantage, they did not find out it was taking effect until effectively six months later. i think that is one of the challenges, as she said, it can be difficult to get consumers to understand everything in the bill. the administration is looking at this week as a prime our virginity to sell the benefits o this bill.
10:34am
opportunity to sell this bill. guest: premiums are in issue. employers are seeing their premium costs raised and employees have to carry a bigger burden of that share. so, it could be an issue for people. guest: it will be hard for consumers to rally around this law if they get increases. they will say, adidn't the government passed a law that costs?wer mill lower my host: the secretary said there is a real threat to defunding if the republicans take over congress. guest: if the money is not there to find this bill, they do not need to repeal it, it becomes a
10:35am
lame duck. guest: the question is, what will they do find it? preventativeefund care, or staying on your parents' plan until 26. the republicans know those are much more popular plans. what they will defund is the hiring of irs agents to monitor. if republicans take back the house and this election, i think it will be an issue for the democrats. host: joining us on "newsmakers" are to reporters. -- two reporters. thank you. guest: muy pleasure. guest: thank you. >> for me or anyone else who is
10:36am
considering the continuing on in public service, the real question is -- and do you have a positive vision for the direction the country should head, specific ideas to implement that vision, and demonstrated said of experience that show that you can get it done? >> i am going minnesota governor tim pawlenty tonight on c-span. warren brown writes the weekly car column for "the washington post". >> it is just a viable to say that we would not have the black middle class had we not had general motors, ford, and chrysler. >> and 2008, he supported the government bailout of the automotive industry. he will talk about what is ahead for carmakers on c-span's "q&a" tonight. >> an impeachment trial of a
10:37am
federal judge took place this week. judge porteous is accused of engaging in a kickback scheme with a louisiana law firm. this is the first impeachment trial since the proceedings of president clinton in 1999. we will show you some portions of the hearing, beginning of the lawyer's presentation and an overview of the case. >> good morning. the evidentiary proceedings of the senate impeachment trial committee on the articles against judge j. thomas porteous jr. of the eastern district of louisiana will now come to order. with the adopt of senate resolution 458, this committee s appointed to perform the duties and exercise the powers ovided for in rule 11 of the rules of procedure and practice in the senate while sitting in impeachment trials. rule 11 requires this committee
10:38am
to receive evidenc and to take testimony on the four articles of impeachment which were presented to the senate by the house of representatives. following extensive pretrial proceedings, we are here today to begin receiving evidence. at the conclusion of these evidentiary proceedings, the committee shall, as mandated by rule 11 and by senate resolution 458, report to the full senate in writing a certified copy of the transcript of the proceedings and testimony had and given before this committee. and in addition, a statement of facts that are uncontested and a summary the evidence that the parties have introduced on contested issues of fact. these proceedings may be viewed live in be each senate office on television or on the committee's web site at www.citc -- sitc.senate.gov. each senator who is not on the committee may have an opportunity at any time to view the testimony of the witnesses as well as read the transcripts of their testimony.
10:39am
under senate impeachment rule 11, the full senate retains the power to determine the competency, relevancy a materiality of the evidence the committee will report to it. the senate also retains the power to send for any witness to testify in open senate or, indeed, to order that the entire trial be conducted in open senate. regarding the house request to waive rule 22 and allow two persons to present its opening statement, that request is hereby granted, and the rule is waived. rule 19 requiring that senators wishing to ask a question put the question in writing and through the presiding officer was previously waived. members will be permitted to ask questions directly of the witnesses once that witness has been cross-examined. and i would now defer to both sides of the trial to begin their opening statements.
10:40am
>> madam chai senators, i'd ke to begin by introducing the team of representatives from the -- [inaudible] >> turn the microphone on. >> thank you, madam chair. yes, much better. i'm joined by my colleague, bob goodlap from virginia. we'll be joined during the trial by our colleagues, hank johnson, jim, and zo lofgren. we're also assisted by alan barron, mark, harry and kirsten. at the outset, the house recognizes what an extraordinary proceeding this is and how seldom an impeachment is undertaken. i think this is a reflection of several thing not the least of which the caliber of the men and
10:41am
women who are nominated for the federal bench, the vast majority of which who are acquitted themselves with great distinction and not given cause for their removal from office. i think it's also a tribute to the confirmation process that does a good job in vetting out those who are not suitable for the bench. and i also think it's a reflection of how infrequently the house believes this extraordinary remedy is required. i won't spend much timehis morning in discussing the standard for impeachment, the content of high crimes and misdemeanors. there'll be time for that later. more than that, i think the members of this committee understand that standard probably better than i or anyone else could articulate. but i will share at least in my view one of the formulations i think house and senate have arrived on in considering judicial impeachments, and that that a judge has committed a serious violation of the public trust. that in the phraseology of governor morris, one of the framers, that the judge has so
10:42am
misdemeaned himself by violating the public trust that it necessitates his removal from the bench. and i also say that in the unanimous view of the house of representatives, the conduct of judge porteous was so unethical, so deplorable and inimical to the public trust that it cannot allowed to remain o the bench. now, wt was that conduct? i'd like to give you a brief overview of the facts of the case before i turn it over to my colleague to go through the evidence in more detail. but before i do, it's worth pointing out that the vast majority of the facts, the underlying conduct in this case is not disputed. the central conduct in this case is simply not contested. and that conduct involves four areas. it involves the judge's relationship with two attorneys, jake and bob creeley, his relaonship with a bail bonds company run by louis marcott, the concealment of the corrupt
10:43am
nature of these attorneys with this bail bonds company during his senate confirmation, and it involves his numerous false statements and representations and violations of the bankruptcy court order during his bankruptcy case. let me start, first, with the lawyers, imado and creley. he had, in fact, been a partner of theirs in their law practice. at some point while he was on the state bench whether because of his expensesn the course of his family occasions, weddings or what not, whether it was because of his gambling, drinking or taste for expensive lunches, he started asking for cash from one of the attorneys, creeley. in the beginning it was small amounts, $50, $100, whatever bob had on him. but over time he came to ask for more cash, $500, a thousand dollars. and at some point bob creeley
10:44am
got tired of being hit on by t judge for cash, and he told the judge it had to stop. the cash had to stop. and after they had this conversation, the judge started sending curatorships to the law firm of creeley and imado. essentially small administrative cases, unwhen there's an absent -- often when there's an absent party. these cases weren't very much, $175 or $200. the attorneys will testify they didn't even want these cases, they didn't ask for them. but once the judge started sending these to the firm, he started again hit them up for cash. he would call, and he would want some of the curator money. and the evidence will show that they started to give him, basically, 50% of the curator money.
10:45am
the evidence will also show that they continued to give him curator money, and they would both take a draw from the firm. they would each, basically, get a thousand dollars as a draw from the firm. they would then turn that into cash and give the cash to judge porteous. this went on for a period of time until judge porteous was nominated for e federal bench. once he was appointed to the federal bench, he was no longer in a position to send curators to the firm. when the curatorships stopped, the the cash also stopped. now, that cash stopped and the request for catch stopped with the end of the curators when he was appointed to the federal bench, the requests for cash stopped until a certain point. and that point came when judge porteous was assigned a millionty million dollar -- multimillion dollar case involving a fight over a
10:46am
pharmacyospital, a complex case that it's not necessary to go into great detail about. but this case had been going on for years. six weeks before the trial, lilegeburg brings in two new lawyers. opposing counsel, a gentleman p named joe mole, became concerned with the late addition six weeks before trial on this multiyear, very complex multimillion dollar -- perhaps as much the evidence will show worth $200 million. he did some due diligence. contacted people that he knew that understood the bar in new orleans. and what he was told really alarmed him, that basically, the thing that these two attorneys had in common, amato and levinson was they were close
10:47am
friends, basically cronies of the judge. they were told in no uncertain terms by people who would not speak publicly that the fix was in. they'd better make a good record for themselves on appeal because they were going to lose this case. now, this put mr. mole in a difficult position because the case was a bench trial. there was going to be no jury. judge porteous was going to decide the facts, he was going to decide the law, he was going to write the order, and mr. mole didn't have hard evidence that he could cite to. most of what he was told, basically, he was told in a way that he could not use in the court. but he did know that they had lunch together, although he did not know how frequently, and he was able to find through court records that he believed that mr. amato or levinson had given a contribution to judge porteous' campaign. and these were the only facts he really could cite to, their
10:48am
friendship, they had this campaign contribution, having lunch together in the his motion to recuse. but he felt he had no choice, he had to try to ask the judge to remove himself from the case. so he files the motion. the judge makes it quite clear during the recusal hearing -- and we will share with you the transcript because it's one of the most illuminating pieces of evidence in the case -- he makes it clear he understands the ethical standards, he understands when he has to take himself off a case. he goes through that with counsel, and then he chides mr. mole for suggesting he got a campaign contribution. he says, i never had a campaign. the contribution you're talking about was a contribution to all the judges for all their campaigns, a program that was called justice for all. contributed to all the judges' re-election. that was the only money he got from these lawyers. now, this, of course, we know
10:49am
was a quite deliberate cceit. and misreprestation. because, in fact, he'd gotten thousands and thousands of dollars for these cure curatorss from mr. amato and mr. creely. none of which he discloses. all he does is chide the attorney for not doing his homework. of course, if he'd find out about all this cash the judge had received, the recusal motion on the appeal -- because he later appeals -- the appeal would have been successful, the judge would have been forced to recuse himself. but the judge doesn't. he rules against the motion. the appeal is denied. the ca goes to trial. after the case goes to trial, judge porteous takes the case under submission. this is worth an enormous amount to the lafirm of amato and creely. they have a contingency case. they don't make a penny unless they win this case, and if they do win, mr. amato will testify
10:50am
they stand to earnomewhere between half a million to a million dollars. he's taken no other case in two years as mr. ato's worked on this case. it was worth an awful lot to his firm. case is under submission for three years. while it's under submission, they continue having their lunches together. the evidence will show that creely, amato or levinsonad lunch with the judge probably 100 times over several years. expensive restaurants, lots of liquor. they continue having the lunches and the wining and dining, but more than that, they pay for parties for the judge, they pay for other expenses for the judge, and on one very perfectbe pivotal -- pivot bal weekend, mr. amato goes fishing with the judge. and they're on the fishing boat, and the judge says -- he breaks down, says, i need money for my son's wedding. you've got to help me, i need money for my son's wedding.
10:51am
can you give me 2,000, $3,000? can you get me that cash? can you give it to me, can you find somebody to give it to e -- me? i need the money. and mr. amato will testify he made the worst decision of his life. mindful of the fact that he had this very important litigation in his courtroom, he gives him the money. can't remember whether he gave it to him personally or had his, or the judge sent his secretary over to pick it up, but gives him 2,000, $2500 in an envelope. during the rcusal hearing the judge made the point of saying i know the standard i'm to be held to. it's my responsibility as judge to disclose if there's something the attorneys should ask me to remove myself from the case. does the judge disclose that has solicited cash from one of the lawyers, does he tell other
10:52am
counsel about it? of course not. ultimately, the judge rules and rules in favor of mr. amato's client. it's a huge victory for the client. writes a lengthy opinion. mr. mole, as he knew he would have to, appeals the opinion and in large part the court of appeals reverses. and not only reverses, but in one of the more scathing opinions you'll ever read, accuses judge porteous of making up remedies and arguments out of whole cloth. baseless, a baseless decision is, essentially, what the court of appeals views of what judge porteous has written. the evidence will also show that at the same time that this illicit relationship is going on with amat toe a creely,t's not o technology relationship of its -- not the only relationship going on. judge porteous also has a relationship with a bail bonds company run by louis marcott.
10:53am
and with respect to the marcotts, louis and his sister lori, it shows a similar pattern. the marcot ts taking the judge out to probably over the years dozens if not hundreds of peel meals at expensive places. buying him liquor, doing repairs on the judge's car, on his home, and for his part the evidence will show that judge porteous sent bonds in a manner that would maximize the profits to louis and his company. and one would hope that a judge's priority in setting bond would be to insure the defendant's appearance in court. but the evidence will show here that the marcottes asked for bonds set at amounts that would benefit him, mr. marcotte, and that judge porteous was more than willing to comply. on two separate occasions he was asked to expunge the convictions
10:54am
of employees of the bail bonds business be who could no longer work, could no longer be licensed to work in the business because of their conviction so louis marcot says, will you expunge the conviction first of a guy named jeff, and the judge does it. and later of another bail bonds employee, aubrey wallace, and the judge expunges that conviction too. these were two of the employees doing the work for the judge, doing the car repairs and doing the home repairs. and when the judge takes the federal bench and can no longer set bonds to advantage louis marcotte, judge porteous helps to recruit a new judge to take his place with the marcottes. a new state judge who would later go to jail after pleading guilty to a charge almost identical to the conduct here. with respect tothe confirmation process, the evidence will sh that judge porteous knowingly failed to disclose the corrupt
10:55am
nature of these relationships to the fbi and to the senate. how do we know that the failure to disclose was knowing? how apart from the obvious fact that he was certainly aware of the cash he got from c rex ely -- creely and amato. heas aware of the lunches and the parties they paid for, he was aware of the drinking and the gambling. how apart from the obvious do we know that judge porteous quite deliberaly kept this from the senate? well, he tells us so. he tells us, and he shows us so. and let me give just one example of how he does that. louis martte when he asks him to expunge one of these convictions, the secd, aubre wallace, he will tesfy that when he asked judge porteous to expunge this conviction, judge porteous says, i will do it, but
10:56am
not ght now. i won't do this until after my senate confirmation. i'm not blowing a lifetime appointment to the bench to do this for you. and that's exactly what happens. he waits until after his senate confirmation, and just before be he's sworn in to expunge the conviction of aubrey wallace, now, why does he do it precisely then? obviously, he doesn't want to do it before the confirmation because he knows this would materially affect his confirmation. but why just before he's sworn in? well, he also knows the moment he's sworn into the federal bench, he's no longer in a sition to expunge a conviction. it has to be exactly when and, in fact, the evidence will show that's exactly when he expunges the conviction. during the confirmation judge porteous is asked by the senate is he aware of any unfavorable
10:57am
information that would aect his nomination, and he answers, to the best of my knowledge, i do not know of any unfavorable information that may affect my nomination. the judge might object, how could he disclose the expudging of aubrey wallace until after, e answer is he'd already done it with jeff. this was only the second time he did it. but, of course, he also knew about all the cash, knew about the expenses and failed to disclose that, and i think there's no question that would have materially not only affected his confirmation, but ended his confirmation. with respect to the bankruptcy, the evidence will show a similar effort to conceal the truth. he begins the bankruptcy process by filing the petition in a phony name. not porteous, but he picks a name, ortis.
10:58am
he opens a post office box so that this first e decision won't be assocted with him publicly. why does he do this? why file in a phony name? well, perhaps it's to avoid certain creditors or perhaps it's to avoid having the casinos read about his bankruptcy and decline to extend credit markers to him in the future, or perhaps as the defense will suggest, it's simply o to -- to avoid public embarrassment. but if a man will go to the extreme length of filing a bankruptcy petition under a false name and certify that that name is, in fact, his real name, if he'll go to the further length of taking a post office box to conceal it is his true identity, will he not conceal other information from the senate in order to obtain a lifetime appointment to the bench? the evidence will show that he would and, in fact, did. there are other numerous false
10:59am
statements which we will chronicle later, but judge porteous repeatedly violates the order not to incur new debt when he goes to casinos again and again filling out credit applications, taking out markers and borrowing from the casino to gamble. now, as i mentioned at the outset, none of these facts are seriously contested. in fact, judge porteous admits to most of them in the fifth circuit. he is asked about the your ray to have -- curator monies, and he admits sending them and calling and getting cash back. he will not call it a kickback, but judge porteous does not deny getting the cash after sending the curatorships. when he is asked how much money did he get during the fifth circuit proceedings, his awer? i have no earthly idea. i have no idea. no i didn't get the money, not i don't know what you're talking about, but in terms of howmuch, i have no idea. heot cash so often after such a prolonged period of time, he that
11:00am
has no idea exactly how much he got for them. does he admit getting the 2-3,000 inash after soliciting it ding the the pen nancy of this case in an envelope? yes, he admits that, too, in the fifth circuit. he he does not deny getting an envelope with cash during this he doesn't remember whether he got it personally. but he doesn't deny getting the cash. he admits not disclosing the money during the hearing. he admits not paying taxes on the cash income that he got from amato. he admits filing his federal disclosure forms and claiming that he had 30ds,000 in credit card debt when in fact he had over $180,000 in credit card
11:01am
debt. he admits filing his bankruptcy under a false name only saying it was his lawyer's idea. he admits filling out credit applications and filling out markers when the bankruptcy order prohibited so. none of this he denies. not the lunches, not the parties, not the favors, not the cash, not the false statements, not the split bonds, not the false name. none of this we expect he has or will deny. the facts are uncontested. what is the issue here? as i will discuss briefly after mr. goodlatte goes through the evidence, the evidence is this. the judge doesn't believe his conduct is wrong. he doesn't believe any is unethical or immoral. in his view it is at best the appearance of impropriety. as the defense states in its statement of the case, the conduct alleged here is, quote, a variety of acts that
11:02am
constitute add most the appearance of impropriety. it is the unanimous view of the house of representatives that judge porteous' conduct was not only wrong but so violative of the public trust that he cannot be allowed to remain on the bench without making a mockery of the court system. i would now like to turn it over to my colleague to go through the evidence in more detail. >> thank you, mr. schiff. chairman, vice chrm, members of the committee, now let me turn to the facts that we shall prove in the case in more detail. judge porteous was born in december 1946, and he will be 64 this december. in 1971 he graduated from l.s.u. law school, and he was a partner
11:03am
with jacob amato, with whom you will hear later today, between 1973 and 1974. robert creeley also practiced at that law firm. from october 19 3 to august 1984, judge porteous also served as an assistant district attorney in jefferson parish louisiana. in august, 1984, judge porteous was elected and served as state district court judge on the judicial court for jefferson parish louisiana where he served as a state judge from august 1984 to october 28, 1994. while a state judge, amato and creeley regularly and freely took him to lunch and paid for other entertainment for judge porteous. judge porteous never paid for any lunches he attended with them. let me first start off by talking about judge porteous' curatorship scheme with the
11:04am
other attorneys. as mr. schiff stated, at some point after he became a state judge, judge porteous began to request money from robert creeley. the evidence will show that judge porteous claimed that he neeleded money for personal reasons such as tuition, car repairs or home repairs. creeley would give him the moneys as requested. over time as the requests persisted and the amounts he sought increased, creeley came to resist them to the point that creeley would avoid his phone calls. he went so far as to tell judge porteous that he felt he was being taken advantage of. this committee has ruled that the transcripts from the house hearings are admissible so i will quote from what he previously testified. quote, i don't recall if it was specifically because of his lifestyle but i told him that we could not continue giving him money. in light of his resistance,
11:05am
judge porteous came up with the following scheme. judge porteous used his judicial power to assign creeley crew atoreships. these are appointments whereby he would represent a missing party in a case for which creeley would receive a set fee of approximately $200 from the court. after creeley was paid for those curatorships, judge porteous requested from creeley money constituting some portion of the curatorship fees. again creeley testified in the fifth circuit. question, did judge porteous make a request of you after sending you curatorships or a portion of the fees that you were being paid by the court? answer, yes, sir. question, and how did that -- how did he do that? answer, i don't recall how it came about, but it came about and he got and i can't -- i can't tell you that he got all of the fees we generated but he got a good portion of the fees we generated.
11:06am
creeley told his partner that judge porteous was asking for money from the curatorships. here is how amato described this in his deposition of august 2 of this year in response to questioning by judge porteous' attorney. question, was it your understanding that there was a connection between the money that was the cash that was given to judge porteous and the curatorships? answer, at some point in time, yes. question, and how did you reach that understanding? answer, bob came in my office one day, told me porteous was sending curatorships and he wanted us to give us some money back, and i told him this is going to wind up bad. as you can see, mr. amato could not have been more prescient. let me pause here. the evidence here is not simply the testimony of creeley and amato. judge porteous himself has admitted essential aspects of this sequence of events leading to and including his actions regarding the curatorships. for example, in his testimony
11:07am
under oath to the fifth circuit, judge porteous confirmed that mr. creeley refused to pay him money before the curatorships started. answer, he may have said i needed to get my finances under control, yeah. similarly, judge porteous confirmed that during the time he sent curatorships over to the amato and creeley firm, he would receive money back from them. question, after receiving curatorships, mr. creeley and amto or their law firm would give you money correct? answer, occasionally. question, during the time you were giving creeley and amotto and the law firm curatorships and you were getting cash back, was that cash you received a kickback for the curatorship in your mind? answer, no, sir. judge porteous disputes whether the arrangement should be characterized as a kickback, he does not dispute the fundamental premise of the arrangement that was then in place, that there was a time that he was giving,
11:08am
quote, creeley and amato and their law firm curatorships and was getting cash back. thus creeley and amato acceded to judge porteous' requests and gave him cash funded by the curatorships. they took key qual draws from the firm to come up with the cash to give judge porteous in response to his demands. here are examples of orders that judge porteous signed, assigning a curatorship to creeley, orders that judge porteous signed in his judicial capacity in order to enrich himself. during the 1988 to 1994 time periods, the house has identified approximately 200 curatorships that judge porteous assigned creely amounting to fees of close to $40,000 to the firm. creely and amato have each estimated that they collectively gave judge porteous approximately $20,000 or $10,000 each from the curatorship
11:09am
proceeds and asked -- as to money amounts, judge porteous had testified -- question, judge porteous over the years how much cash have you received from jake amato and bob creely or their law firm? answer, i have no earthly idea. question, it could have been $10,000 or more, isn't that right? answer, again, you are asking me to speculate. i have no idea is all i can tell you. so the money came directly from creely, the evidence will show that judge porteous well understood that the money was 50/50 from amato as well. the evidence will be clear that judge porteous spent time with both men and understood they had a classic partnership relationship. however, after judge porteous became a federal judge in 1994, his ability to assign creely the curatorships came to an end and thus his cash requests came to an end for the time being. we believe you will conclude that the fact that judge porteous stopped making cash requests at the same time he stopped assigning curatorships
11:10am
is powerful evidence that judge porteous understood that those two events would be inextricably interwoven. now let me turn to judge porteous' handling of another case in federal court. a case where amato was the attorney for one of the parties. in early 1996, judge porteous, now a federal judge, was assigned a complicated civil case involving the dispute between a hospital life mark and a company that was run ago pharmacy at the hospital known collectively as the wilgeberg. just six weeks prior to the date for trial in late september 1996, they hired mr. amato and the law firm of amato and creely and another of porteous' very close friends, leonard leavenson to represent them at trial. lifemark's counsel filed a motion to recuse porteous.
11:11am
they argued the timing of him entering this complex case raised suspicions about the integrity of the process. lifemark's attorney, joseph mole, had no idea that amato had in fact in partnership with creely given judge porteous close to $20,000 in cash. in october, 1996, judge porteous conducted a hearing on lifemark's recusal motion. it is worth going through what happens at that hearing in a little bit of detail. at the recusal hearing, judge porteous described his relationship with amato and leavenson as followed. quote, if anyone wants to decide whether i am a friend with mr. amato, i will put that to rest. the answer is affirmative yes. mr. amato and i practiced law together 20 plus years ago. judge porteous further stated, quote, yes, mr. amato and mr. levin son are friends of mine. have i ever been to their house? no.
11:12am
have i gone along to lunch with them? yes. have i been going to lunch with all the members of the bar? the answer is yes. in short, at the hearing judge porteous portrayed his relationship with amato as simply the same sort of unexceptional relationship that he would have had with any member of the bar limited to having, quote, gone to lunch with him. even that is misleading because the evidence will show that judge porteous had in fact accepted hundreds of meals at expensive restaurants from amotto without reciprocating. more significantly in describing his relationship with amato, judge porteous makes no mention whatsoever of what really is the issue, that is that he has received thousands of dollars in cash from amato's law firm, money that he knows comes from amato as well as creely. mr. mole at a great disadvantage says, quote, the public perception is that they do dine with you, travel with you, they
11:13am
have contributed to your campaigns, end quote. and judge porteous pounces on this, quote, well, luckily i didn't have any campaigns. so i'm interested to find out how did you know that? i never had any campaigns, counsel. i have never had an opponent. the first time i ran, 1984, i think is the only time they gave me money. jung porteous goes on to challenge mole about the suggestion that amato and leavenson had given him campaign contributions saying mole should have done his home work better. he makes the self-serving comment in which he promises to notify counsel if he should recuse himself and concludes i don't think a well-informed individual can question my impartiality in this case. well, in effect what you have here is judge porteous and amato who know the facts just not disclosing it, completely
11:14am
misleading and disguising the nature of the actual relationship. amato knows this is not right. here is what amato described in the courtroom in response to questioning by mr. schiff at his senate deposition. question, and he in fact told the other attorneys they should have done their home work better because this was a contribution to a general judge's fund? answer, that's correct. that's the short story. question, and while he was making this show for the other counsel that they should have done their homework better, he didn't tell them anything about the approximately $20,000 in curator fees that you and your partner kicked back to him, did he? answer, no, he didn't tell them anything about the curatorships. question, do you think that was misleading mr. amato for him to pound his chest and say i neff got any campaign contributions but failed to tell them he got about $20,000 in cash under the table? answer, yes.
11:15am
question, so you don't feel he was being honest during that hearing, do you? answer, i don't think he was being honest. in the summer of 1997, judge porteous presided over the wilgeberg trial and took the case upped advisement. he did not issue an opinion until april of 000. in may of 1999 while the judge had the case under advisement, judge porteous invited creely, amato's partner, to las vegas for judge porteous' son's bachelor party prior to his wedding. on that trip creely paid for judge porteous' hotel room, contributed several hundred dollars to the bachelor party dinner and paid for other entertainment for judge porteous. indeed judge porteous admitted in fifth circuit testimony that creely made those payments for him. in june of 1999, also while still having the case under advisement, judge porteous went on a fishing trip with amato and told him that his son's wedding
11:16am
expenses were more than anticipated and requested that amato give him cash. in response to that request, amato and creely gave porteous approximately $2,000. just pause for a moment. here we have a federal judge, while having a nonjury case under advisement, asking one of the attorneys for cash. like much of the other evidence that we shall introduce, the fact that judge porteous solicited and received money from amato in 1999, in connection with his son's wedding and while the case was pending, is not really contested. here is how judge porteous testified. question, do you recall in 1999 in the summer, may, june, receiving $2,000 from them? answer, i've read mr. amato's grand jury testimony. it says we were fishing and i made some representation that i was having difficulties and that he loaned me some money or gave me some money. question, whether or not you
11:17am
recall asking mr. amato for money during his fishing trip, do you recall getting an envelope with $2,000 shortly thereafter? answer, yes, something seems to suggest that mr. may have been an envelope. i don't remember the size of an envelope, how i got the envelope or anything about it. question, wait a second. is it the nature of the envelope you are disputing? no, money was received in an envelope. question, and had cash in it? answer, yes, sir. question and it was from creely and -- >> amato. >> question, amato? answer, yes. it was used to pay for your son's wedding? yes. question, would you dispute that the amount was $2,000? answer, i don't have any basis to dispute it. in addition in the fall of 1999, while judge porteous still had the case under advisement, creely and amato paid over $1,000 for a party in honor of judge porteous' fifth year on
11:18am
the federal bench. in april 2000, judge porteous issued his opinion in the case ruling for the wilgebergs on all major issues. lifemark appealed his decision and the fifth circuit reversed judge porteous in scathing terms describing it as inexplicable, a chimera boarding on the nonsensical, and absurd. thus, article 1 charges a pattern of course of conduct in connection of judge porteous' handling of the case including his failure to recuse himself, his making false and misleading statements at the recusal hearing, his soliciting in receipt of $2,000 from amato while the case was pending before him and his receipt of other things of value from creely including creely's payments for certain expenses at the 1999 trip to las vegas. now let me turn to article 2.
11:19am
judge porteous' relationship with bail bondsman louis marcot and his sister that mr. schiff discussed. for that it is necessary to return to judge porteous' roots as a state court judge. first let me take a second to describe how the bail bonds business worked in new orleans. and why it was so financially significant to the marcots. this is somewhat detailed and i have tried to distill it to its essentials. a bail bond is an insurance policy. the prisoner pays the premium, typically 10% of the amount of the bail bond to the bail bondsman and the bail bondsman promises the court that the prisoner will show up when required so if a bond is set at $50,000 a prisoner would pay $5,000. louis marcot will testify that he would make no money if the bond was set so high that the prisoner could not afford the
11:20am
premium. or too low so that the premium would be an insignificant sum. what marcot really wanted was for a bond to be set at the maximum amount for which the prisoner could afford to pay marcot the premium. it is against this background that judge porteous' relationship with the marcots can thus be understood. prior to taking the federal bench starting in the early 1990's, judge porteous developed a relationship with the marcots where he solicited and accepted things of value from them and at the same time took numerous official acts as a state judge for their financial benefit. first as to what the marcots gave judge porteous the marcots took judge porteous to high end restaurants for lunch, paying both for meals and drinks. the marcots also paid for numerous car repairs and routine car maintenance for judge porteous. they paid for home repairs for judge porteous when a fence of judge porteous had to be fixed. the marcots also paid for a trip to las vegas for judge porteous.
11:21am
in return, judge porteous willingsly became marcot's go-to judge for setting bonds. marcot went to the judge with recommended bond amounts, that would maximize their income. judge porteous signed countless bonds at their requests, judicial acts which he knew to be of financial benefit to them. at a prior hearing, mr. churly has argued to the committee that the house cannot identify any corrupt bonds that were set by judge porteous. that is not the point or what the articles of impeachment allege. rather the evidence will demonstrate that judge porteous eagerly solicited and willingly accepted things from the marcots which he knew to be inducements and rewards for his taking many judicial acts for the financial benefit of the marcots. the evidence will show they were not social friends as you or i may conceive that term. they knew each other solely through work and they formed a
11:22am
corrupt, mutually beneficial relationship. in addition to setting bonds as requested, judge porteous took other judicial acts of significance for the marcots. in 1993, judge porteous expungesed the conviction of a marcot employee. this was worked out between louis marcot and judge porteous. judge porteous expungesed duhon's conviction as marcot requested. in 1994 at marcot's request, judge porteous set aside the conviction of another marcot employee, aubrey wallace. it took place during judge porteous' last days on the state bench, a final judicial act by judge porteous for the marcots' benefit and the extent he was beholden to the marcots. let me turn to judge porteous' confirmation as a federal judge. at some point in 194, judge
11:23am
porteous came under consideration to be appointed as a federal judge. judge porteous knew that if the white house and the senate had found out about his relationship with either creely or the marcots he would never be nominated let alone confirmed. in the course of the background investigation and during the confirmation process, judge porteous was asked questions on no less than four occasions that would have logically called for his disclosure of his relationships with creely and amotto had he been truthful and forth coming. at some time prior to july of 1994, judge porteous filled out a form referred to as the supplement to the fs-86. on that form is a question that goes to the very heart of the issue associated with the background process. i want to show you that question and answer to -- to the committee.
11:24am
in that form judge porteous was asked, question, is there anything in your personal life that could be used by someone to coerce or blackmail you? is there anything in your life that could cause an embarrassment to you or to the president if publicly known? if so, please provide full details. to which judge porteous answered, no. judge porteous signed that document under the penalties of false statements. of course the evidence will show that he knew of the facts i have described and thus knew that answer was false. the evidence will show that thereafter on july 6 and july 8, judge porteous was interviewed by an f.b.i. agent as part of the background check process. judge portous was asked by the agent the same sort of questions and his answers were incorporated in a memorandum of the agent that summarized the interview. let me again show you the exhibit. in the f.b.i. write-up of that interview, judge porteous was
11:25am
recorded as saying that he was not concealing any activity or conduct that could be used to influence, pressure, coerce, or compromise him in any way or that would impact negatively on the candidate's character, reputation, judgment or discretion. after that interview, the f.b.i. in new orleans sent the background check to f.b.i. headquarters in washington which reviewed the background check. they directed the agents to interview judge porteous a second time about a very particular allegation that the f.b.i. had received in 1993 that judge porteous had taken a bribe from an attorney to reduce the bond for an individual who had been arrested. this allegation did not implicate the marcots. on august 18 the f.b.i. returned and conducted a second in person interview with judge porteous probing possible illegal conduct on his part in connection of bond setting. once again the f.b.i. records
11:26am
judge port outs as stating quote that he was unaware of anything this his background that might be the basis of attempted influence, pressure, coercion or compromise and/or would impact negatively on his character, reputation, judgment or discretion. finally on the united states senate committee on the judiciary, sent judge porteous a questionnaire for judicial nominees. i am showing you the document on the screen n. that questionnaire, judge porteous was asked the following question and gave the following answer. please advise the committee of any unfavorable information that may affect your nomination. answer, to the best of my knowledge, i do not know of any unfavorable information that may affect my nomination. the signature block is in the form of an affidavit, that the information provided in the document is true and correct. thus on four occasions judge porteous concealed the truth as to his relationships with creely
11:27am
and amato and the marcots from the f.b.i. and the senate. in addition the two men who judge porteous had been receiving from were each interviewed by the f.b.i. each made misleading or false statements designed to protect judge porteous. let me turn to an act undertaken by judge porteous during the time of the confirmation process that evidenced first that judge porteous well knew that his relationship with marcot was corrupt and second that demonstrates that he wanted to conceal that relationship from the senate. marcot had an employee named aubrey wallace. wallace had two felony convictions, a burglary conviction and drug conviction. in the summer of 1994 at around the time period of the confirmation, marcot went to judge porteous and asked him to set aside wallace's burglary conviction to take the first step in getting rid of his felony convictions so wallace
11:28am
would be able to obtain a bail bonds license. the evidence will show that judge porteous told marcot that he would set wallace's conviction aside but only after the senate had confirmed him. i would like to read an excerpt from mr. marcot's testimony which has been ruled admissible. mr. schiff, you mentioned that with respect to mr. wallace that judge porteous expressed a reservation about setting aside the conviction unless his confirmation took place. can you tell us a little bit about that conversation? you said you had to press him. did he tell you why he was concerned it would affect his confirmation? because if anyone grabbed hold of it he would be worried that it would interfere with him being his confirmation. mr. schiff, can you tell us what his words were as best you can recall how he expressed to you his concern that thanges might
11:29am
become public? mr. louis marcotte -- he said, louis, i am not going to let wallace get in the way of me becoming a federal judge and getting appointed for the rest of his life to set aside his conviction. wait until it happens and then i will do it. in short with regard to article 4, the evidence will show that judge porteous sought to conceal material information from the senate and did so in a calculated manner precisely with the intent to confound the senate in the exercise that the confirmation responsibilities. the record confirms marcotte's testimony. judge porteous did wait until after confirmed by the senate and before he was sworn in to set aside wallace's conviction. judge porteous said if he society the set aside were
11:30am
discovered it might derail his nomination appear to have been justified. after he wame a federal judge the marcott's did not continue prix cicely. judge porteous could not do as much and they accordingly did less for him. they took him to lunch los frequently. however, even if the relationship slowed down it did not come to an end. you will hear that judge porteous was influential with other state judges from the 24th j.d.c. where he had previously presided. the marcottes knew it was useful to have a federal judge this their corner so even when he was a federal judge they continued to take him to expensive lunches especially where persons they sought to impress, state judges
11:31am
and businessmen, would be present. as but one example, the evidence will show that judge porteous vouched for the marcottes with newly elected state judge ronald odenhimer who prior to judge porteous' intervention held them in low regard ended up forming the same sort of corrupt relationship with the marcottes that judge porteous previously had with them accepting meals, home repairs, and hospitality on various trips and in return setting bonds as they requested. ultimately he and another state judge went to jail for conduct that was substantially similar to that of judge porteous vis-a-vis the marcott ecks. they were convicted of felony offenses for having given numerous state officials including judges and law enforcement personnel things of value. article 2 alleges while he was a state court judge in the 24th
11:32am
judicial district court in the state of louisiana and continuing while he was a federal judge in the united states district court for the eastern district of louisiana, judge porteous engaged in a corrupt relationship with bail bondsman and his sister laurie. it also alleges that as part of this corrupt relationship, judge porteous accepted numerous things of value including meals, trips and car repairs for his personal use and benefit while at the same time taking official actions that benefited the marcottes. article 4 charges that judge porteous, quote, knowingly made material false statements about his past to both the united states senate and to the federal bureau of investigation in order to obtain the office of united states district court judge. the last aspect of our case relates to judge porteous' bankruptcy while a federal judge set forth in article 3. throughout the 1990's and into
11:33am
2001, judge porteous' financial condition deteriorated largely due to gambling at casinos to the point that by 2001, when he filed for bankruptcy, he had over $190,000 in credit card debt. there are different ways that the evidence will describe his financial activities, but perhaps the employees compelling is that his credit card statements from 1995 to 2000 reflect over $130,000 in gambling charges and his bank statements from 199 through 2000 reflect over $27,000 in cash withdrawals at casinos. in 2000 judge porteous met with bankruptcy attorney claude lightfoot about his financial predicament. the evidence will show that judge porteous did not tell lightfoot at that time or at any time that he gambled. they decided that lightfoot would attempt to work out judge porteous' debt owed to credit ors and if that failed the judge
11:34am
would file for bankruptcy. lightfoot's attempts failed and in 2001 they commenced preparing for chapter 13 bankruptcy. in march of 2001, in the weeks and days immediately prior to filing for bankruptcy, the evidence will show that judge porteous undertook numerous actions to conceal assets, to conceal certain unsecured debts and to structure his financial affairs so that he would be able to continue to gamble and obtain credit from casinos while in bankruptcy. first as part of these efforts, judge porteous agreed that he would file his bankruptcy petition under a false name. to further this plan, judge porteous obtained a post office blocks so that his initial petition would have neither his correct name or a readily identifiable address. he secured that post office box five days before he filed bankruptcy. ultimately on march 28, 2001,
11:35am
judge porteous filed for bankruptcy under the false name g.t. ortess. judge porteous signed his petition twice, once under the representation i declare under the penalty of perjury that the information provided in this petition is true and correct, the other over the typed name g.t. ortess. in april 9, 2001, judge porteous submitted a statement of financial affairs and numerous bankruptcy schedules. this time they were filed under his true name. however the evidence will show that they were false in numerous other ways. all reflecting his desire to conceal assets and gambling activities from the bankruptcy court and his creditors. i am not going through all his false statements during the bankruptcy at this time. but i thought i would at least
11:36am
point out some to you. he knowingly failed to disclose that he had filed for a tax refund claiming a $4,400 refund even though the bankruptcy forms specifically inquire as to whether he filed for a tax reform. he checked that box, no. he knowingly failed to disclose that he had gambling losses within the prior year even though the form specifically asked that question. in fact, he has admitted before the fifth circuit that he had gambling losses. he deliberately concealed casino debts he had incurred in the weeks prior to filing even though the forms in various places would have required those to be disclosed. he reported his account balance in his checking account as 1ds00 when the day prior to filing he had deposited $2,000 into the account. he concealed altogether a money market account that he regularly used in the past to pay gambling debts. there are others we will establish during the trial.
11:37am
the single organizing principle that arranges a pattern of false statements is judge porteous' desire to conceal as assets so he could gamble without interference from the court or creditors or even his lawyer. at a hearing of creditors on may 9, 2001, judge porteous was asked under oath to vouch for the accuracy of his schedules to which he testified falsely as follows. bankruptcy trusty, everything in here true and correct? judge porteous -- yes. that statement like so many others of his under oath that you will hear about during this proceeding was false. that bankruptcy trustee informed judge porteous he was on a cash basis going forward. at the end of june 2001, a bankruptcy judge issued an order approving the chapter 13 plan and specifically ordered judge porteous not to incur new debt without permission of the court.
11:38am
notwithstanding the judge's order judge porteous did incur debt. he applied for a credit card, more particularly judge porteous continued to borrow from casinos without the court's permission and he paid those debts back through the bank account that he concealed. in short, the evidence will show that he engaged in a pattern of deceitful activity designed to frust trait and confound the bankruptcy process. i know i have taken some time here and i appreciate your attention. now let me turn the podium back to mr. schiff. >> senators, i mentioned at the outset the vast majority of what you have heard is uncontested. so what are the issues here? there are really two arguments the defense will make and the central one is this. porteous did nothing wrong. judge porteous may have done all of these things, but there is nothing wrong with any of it.
11:39am
none of it was unethical, improper or wrong. it is nothing more than an appearance problem. he is being impeached for having lunch. that is the gist of their defense. there will be a suggestion that judge porteous may have done all these things but the house chose not to charge him for the violation of the kickback statute. as the senate has already made clear to counsel, this is not a criminal case and the house has no obligation to charge or prove the elements of a particular statute. there will be a similar suggestion that the house has not charged a violation of the services statute when he is not charged with violating that statute, neither is the house required to make a charge of a particular code section. there will even be a suggestion that after all, senators, we are talking about new orleans. it's new orleans. they all do it, and if you are going to impeach judges in new orleans for this kind of stuff, you will have to impeach all of
11:40am
them. there will be a hint of that. but the real argument is he did nothing wrong. and on this, the house could not disagree more. we believe that the evidence in this case fully supports the view of the house of representatives that sending court cases to a law firm and taking cash back is wrong, dead wrong. the evidence will show that allowing yourself to be wined and dined by lawyers who have a case before you is wrong. the evidence will show that allowing those lawyers to pay for parties, pay for your lunches, your hotel room, to have a stripper dance on your lap, all of that is wrong. to falsely represent your financial relationships with lawyers in the courtroom is unethical and wrong. the evidence will show that to solicit cash from lawyers with a multimillion-dollar case under submission in your courtroom is wrong. to set bail based on how much it will benefit a bail bondsman is wrong. to accept car repairs and home repairs and lunches and liquor from that same bail bondsman is wrong. the evidence will show that to
11:41am
expunge the convictions of the employees to recruit other judges is wrong. to file a false petition in bankruptcy is wrong. we believe that when you hear the evidence, the uncontested evidence, you will agree it is wrong and that he must be removed from the bench. there is a second argument the defense will make i also want to comment on briefly and that is the senate cannot consider the evidence of any of judge porteous conduct before he was sworn into federal office. as representative goodlatte's presentation made clear, some of the conduct in articles 1 and 2 took place before the judge's appointment, during the confirmation proceeding, and after his appointment to the federal bunch, article 3 the bankruptcy account involves conduct only while on the federal bench and the final article, article 4, involves conduct during the confirmation process itself. in judge porteous' view, the constitution prohibit the senate from considering in an
11:42am
impeachment proceeding anything that took place before his swearing in. the senate confirmation process in this view is a high stakes game of hide the ball. if you can get confirmed, no matter what you concealed, no matter what false representation you make, you are home free for life. nothing in the constitution compels this reading. the constitution is silent on when the high crimes or misdemeanors must take place. but judge porteous would have you read into that silence an intent to make any prior conduct unreachable. this would lead to an absurd result. let us say the evidence showed that a judge had committed murder prior to his appointment. could he not be removed? let's say that the evidence showed that a judge were convicted and sentenced to jail after their appointment to the federal bench but based on conduct that was committed before his appointment to the bench. can we imagine a situation where the judge might serve the rest
11:43am
of his life in jail and we would be powerful to remove their salary or pension? judge porteous was not prosecuted by the department of justice but let's say he had been prosecuted for the curatorship scheme. it would be the defense's position that because the conduct took place before notwithstanding that he goes to jail now, he cannot be impeached or removed from the bench. as professor amir testified before the house, if a judge bribed his way on to the bench, would he be beyond the reach of impeachment? of course not. the standard we believe for impeachment is whether the judge has so misdemeaned himself that he has betrayed the public trust and cannot be allowed to remain on the bench. it matters not when the conduct took place but whether the public can have confidence that the judge will honorably undertake his public responsibilities and in accordance with law. in this case we believe the
11:44am
evidence will show that the public cannot have that confidence. let me conclude where i began with one final observation on the standard we applied as we hear fed. what does it mean to betray the public trust? i can only give you my view and that is if i had to appear before judge porteous courtroom in the future, could i have the confidence he would undertake his responsibilities in accordance with the law? if i had a case in his courtroom, it was very important to me, and opposing counsel was a friend of the judge could i be confident he was not taking cash that he would disclose his full relationship with them, that he would not ask for more cash while that case was under submission, that i would need to hire another crony of the judge to protect myself? if i were a creditor in a bankruptcy case could i expect a fair result when the bankruptcy
11:45am
party -- bankrupt party lied on petitions, used an alias, concealed debts or violated the court order by incurring new gambling debts? how could i have that confidence? when the party in question can say, judge, how can you criticize me for filing under a false name? doesn't the name orteses ring a bell? with that, senators, i will conclude my remarks. >> thank you. judge porteous' counsel now has an opportunity for an opening statement. >> thank you, chairman, vice chair hatch, distinguished members of the impeachment trial committee. good morning. my name is jonathan churley and i have the honor of representing united states district court judge g. thomas porteous jr. joining me at counsel's table with judge porteous are my
11:46am
colleagues, daniel schwartz, keith arzata, brian walsh, dan owe connor, from the law firm of brian kay. senators, if the parties agree on one thing, it is this. by any measure, this is a historic moment. it's not simply because the constitutional proceeding has only occurred 14 times in our history. it's a proceeding that the framers crafted with the likes of james madison to guide your actions today, this week, and in this case. in the history of this republic, in over two centuries, there has only been seven federal judges of thousands that have been removed under this standard. now, for past senators and
11:47am
frankly current senators, it would be an easy thing to simply convict a judge and to yield to the passions of controversy. yet this is an occasion where the senate is given a specific duty to adjudicate, not just legislate or deliberate. impeachments are not about one judge. they're about all judges and the constitutional guarantees under which they serve. james madison stated it best when he warned that removal must be based on a high showing -- a high standard to avoid interpretations, quote, so vague as to be the equivalent of tenure at the pleasure of the senate. for that reason, the framers adopted the standard of treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors. it is the obligation of every senator -- and i know you take these obligations seriously --
11:48am
to make two distinct determinations before voting to remove a federal judge. first, you must conclude that the underlying facts, the alleged acts, were proven to have occurred. in a criminal case, facts must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. a standard should be no lower for an impeachment, particularly in a case where the accused was never afforded the protections and due process of a criminal trial. second, if the acts were proven to have occurred, you must determine that the acts constitute treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. in most past cases, the second determination was the focus of your deliberations. however, in this case, your fact-finding has far greater impact in the absence of a prior trial record than all of these prior modern judicial
11:49am
impeachments. as i mentioned, the house opted to bring this impeachment despite the fact that judge porteous has never been indicted, let alone convicted of any crime. that is unlike any modern judicial impeachment. judge porteous signed three tolling agreements to allow the government to prosecute him regardless of the running of the statute of limitations. he waived that protection. as will be shown, the justice department investigated these very claims and found that they did not warrant criminal charges. as a result, there was no trial where evidence and witnesses were subject to judicial review or a full adversarial process. a trial of this kind in federal court would take weeks or months . in an actual court of law, you would have months simply spent on going through the evidence.
11:50am
indeed even with a prior trial, former judge alcee hastings' senate trial lasted 18 days. in the 19 hours allowed to the defense after opening arguments, we will not be able to present a full panoply of witnesses or testimony as if this were a criminal trial. indeed we have reduced our witnesses to try to stay within the allotted time. however, you will hear testimony that core olgations in this case either did not factually occur or had been contradicted by core witnesses including the house's own star witnesses. you will be hearing new evidence never disclosed previously in this case. including facts that were never disclosed to the members of the house before their impeachment vote. indeed i expect many house members may be surprised to learn that the articles were based on alleged acts that we now know could not have occurred
11:51am
as well as alleged acts used as the basis for removal that were entirely lawful. under either judicial ethics or bankruptcy rules. indeed this is the first impeachment that i know of where the house impeached on some factual allegations that didn't actually occur. i know of no other impeachment were facts were found and we will demonstrate clearly that the acts did not happen, simply did not happen. this impeachment reads like a scene in sherlock holmes in the silver blaze case when holmes solves a mystery by noting the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. the scotland yard detective objects and tells mr. holmes, the dog didn't do anything in the nighttime. to which holmes responds, that was the curious incident. it was the absence of the dog barking that holmes found so
11:52am
suspicious. the curious incident in this case is that while the house continually refers to a massive investigation of various judges, and despite the fact that judge porteous waived the statute of limitations on crimes, no indictment was ever brought against him. after years of inquiry. there was a reason the dog did not bark in this case. judge porteous' actions while in some cases showing poor judgment were in fact entirely legal. now, there has been an effort to portray the defense' past inquiries to cast blame on the judges of louisiana or suggesting that misconduct is generally accepted. mr. schiff attempted to make that argument, saying we were going to argue oh, it's just new orleans. that's not what we are arguing. we have refrained from answering those types of ill-informed
11:53am
attacks in the newspapers. we waited to present the evidence to you. the purpose of this evidence is to show how small courthouses work, not just in new orleans but around the country. sitting here in d.c. can warp your view of legal practice. on any corner of this city, you could throw a stick and hit two lawyers. in most towns, small communities carry out the daily basis of the law in a civil and close-knit environment. lawyers and judges grow up together. they socialize with one another. what may seem sinister about a judge knowing a bail bondsman, for example, in washington is not surprising in another town where there is basically one bail bondsman handling all the bonds going through the judge's chambers. while we will present new evidence to you, however, we will ask you to keep in mind two legal truths. first, while we feel obligated
11:54am
to address the allegations about judge porteous when he was a state judge, a federal judge cannot be removed on the basis of previous federal conduct including in this case conduct going back 25 years before taking office. i will not argue the motions to dismiss that we have filed on these threshold issues. as you are probably aware, constitutional scholars have criticized these articles as unprecedented and dangerous, dangerous to our system. the house did not invite a single scholar to testify, to offer substantive evidence, on why these articles are so out of line with the constitutional standard. now, mr. schiff refers to mr. -- professor omar and somehow suggesting this is not a
11:55am
problem. i found that rather surprising. what professor omar said was the state court stuff, well, that's arguably just state court stuff. he dismissed the idea of the federal conduct. we have not been allowed to argue these threshold issues before you. i understand the procedural difficulties of presenting that evidence to the committee and i am not questioning that decision. but we only ask the individual senators to support our request to be able to present these issues to the full senate before closing arguments. the defense side of these issues has never been heard in oral arguments as they didn't call any witnesses that would support this view in the house. we are only asking for the same time allowed to the house and defense that were given to the earlier motion to present to the senate why this is unprecedented, why it is dangerous and then we are prepared to go forward with closing arguments. we are not the only ones asking
11:56am
the members to hear such arguments. in the fifth circuit, judge dennis and his colleagues stressed that, quote, congress lacks jurisdiction to impeach judge porteous for any misconduct prior to his appointment as a federal judge. you just heard the house managers. they want to change that. i think you should seriously consider whether you want to change that. we would like to be heard in the full senate to that effect. second, whether it is a lunch or a gift, none of these acts actually violated state ethics rules in louisiana and many other states. what the congress has impeached this judge for is an appearance of impropriety, a matter already addressed by the fifth circuit. four appellate and district court judges in the fifth circuit expressly objected that the circuit had only found and submitted appearance violations and not impeachable conduct.
11:57am
i commend that decision to you. it is one of the best written opinions i have read in a long time. judge porteous has already accepted punishment for any lapse in judgment, despite what the house managers just told you. he has been sanctioned by the fifth circuit for those appearances of impropriety and he will retire next year from the federal bench. such appearance verses are routine, and they're used as the basis for removal would wipe away centuries of precedent by this body in defining what are removable offenses. perhaps for that reason, the house managers that were quoted last week stating that they wanted the senators to adopt a new standard, to treat the impeachment process as merely an appointment termination case, they would literally have this body adopt the very standard that madison rejected, for
11:58am
judges to serve at the pleasure of the senate, like at-lfer employees. senators, federal judges are not at-ever employees. you will hear from all four of the major house witnesses, mr. creely, mr. amato and the two marcottes that they never bribed this judge, and that they did not and do not believe this judge could be bribed. they will all tell you that judge porteous was viewed as a brilliant jurist who would not be influenced in a decision by any friendship or gifts. in observing our witnesses and the new evidence that we have gathered, we ask you to demand the same burden and showing from the house that you would want for yourself if you were recused of wrongdoing and threatened with removal from federal office without the due process of a
11:59am
trial. you may not approve of the state rules or even the choices made by judge porteous. however, impeachments as you know are not popularity contests. the framers left it to 100 senators who they believed had the institutional integrity to demand a showing of proof and not simply passion from the house. in two centuries, senators have shouldered that duty brilliantly. they have refused to remove judges when there is more proof -- there is more passion than proof. now unfortunately this case proves one thing and that old military adage that when you only have a hammer, every problem is like a nail. faced with witnesses who denied criminal acts, including denials of bribes and other crimes by judge porteous, the house substitutes generalized ethical claims for the missing crimes and evidence in this case.
12:00pm
it was not enough that judge porteous accepted sanctions from his court or announced his resignation next year. the staff and resources for impeachment had been committed and regardless of the damage to our constitutional system, the house demanded removal on the basis of appearance of impropriety and minor bankruptcy violations. . >> he was and peach by failing to recuse himself from presiding in the case that was opposing counsel mentioned to you. this article poses a unique problem. for the first time in history, the house based an article of impeachment on the legal theory
12:01pm
that was later found unconstitutional by the supreme court. this is also in one of the pending motions we are asked to be heard on. prettify the fact that the supreme court rejected the services theory and they knew the pace was candid when they crafted the article around honest services. this seeks to remove a judge over his response and failure to grant a refusal motion for a single case in decades of judging. you will hear testimony about hundreds of judges who faced recusal motion to all around the country. they are occasionally reverse to do personal conduct in a case with council for parties. you will hear from a professor from new orleans who is a widely cited expert in the louisiana
12:02pm
judiciary system. you will see dozens of pieces a personal conflict with judges including financial controversies. to remove a judge for his decision not to recuse himself would create an absurdly low standard inca be used against hundreds of currently sitting federal judges. the use of such us -- such and instead announced removing a judge because of his judicial decision. this is not because of conduct. what is fascinating is that the lawyers in this case that the judge gave them a fair trial even though the lawyers that lost the case testified that there were given a fair trial. the house brings up this and alleges that this was due to a wedding gift that he received, a
12:03pm
gift that was split. the gift was made in conjunction and did not occur until three years after the refusal hearing. in impeachment, facts become fluid. suddenly, they are "cronies" and not friends. whatever disagreement we may have with their testimony, we do not believe they are "cronies." indeed, judge porteous has never challenged or integrity even though people challenge against him. you will hear from both of them,
12:04pm
the two witnesses in this allegation that they have stated unequivocally that they did not give this money as a bribe or to influence him. indeed, both have testified that they were and continue to be absolute the certain that the wedding gift had no influence on him as a federal judge. it was a gift. it was a wedding gift from longstanding friends. this is not to say, senators, and that there is not a conspiracy. there is. however, the real conspiracy involves him not as the beneficiary of the subject of the conspiracy. you will hear testimony that a large corporation had hired an
12:05pm
army of lawyers that succeeded in delaying a lawsuit brought against the corporation by family. at issue was the control of the st. jude hospital, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. when this case came to the judge, it had been bounced from judge to judge for years, in that three-year time span, the party had gone through 13 judges. that is over four judges per year. for its part, they seemed eager to keep the case bouncing from court to court and actually demanded a 14th judge. porteous was assigned to this randomly. look at the record. he said in open court, "i will be your last judge in this
12:06pm
case." that did not sit well with their the council. while the judge confirmed his close relationship with the plaintiff counsel and -- in a subsequent refusal hearing, he stated he did not review that as a barrier to his ruling family. by the way, i would also like you to read the hearing transcript. i did not see him panting a people. what i saw was am working to make sure they had everything they needed to repeal him. i commend the you to read that transcript and you can decide who presents it will fare the. indeed, you will hear from itnesses that judge porteous' response was consistent with his practice. he had been a judge for 10 years in the area previously.
12:07pm
it was common to hear judges arguing cases by friends. most judges and lawyers in that small legal community grew up with each other or knew each other. you would shut down small town courts of judges recused themselves in every case with a friend or acquaintance. you would get nothing done. that would have been a 14th judge in three years, the magistrate in the case was a friend of the plaintiff. they wanted porteous gone. they went to judge wilkinson's brother, the jefferson parish attorney, someone who could help when they had a problem with a judge. tom wilkinson is under criminal investigation in the media for
12:08pm
corruption and his brother recently recused himself from all criminal cases. tom wilkinson arranged to have one of his close friends, mr. gardner, and to the case. gardner, as you will hear, was far closer in either of the plaintiff's attorney's. he not only promised $100,000 for just appearing in the court room for this case. he promised him an additional $100,000 if he could get porteous to recuse himself or leave the case. under this bounty agreement with a federal judge, he had just promised another lawyer a total of $200,000 for just appearing in the case and getting this
12:09pm
judge to remove himself. what is remarkable, senators, is that this unethical promise was put into a written contract and we have the contract. in return, gardner gave the magistrate's brother, tom wilkinson, $30,000. the problem was that porteous was not going anywhere. while the conspiracy should have been the subject of the investigation, the house decided to call him as a witness on the alleged unethical act of judge porteous. he ruled against his close friend, gardner, and cost 10 the $100,000 bounty and other possible fees. with a gift made years after the
12:10pm
refusal hearing, the house tried to rely on money given to him over a 25-year friendship. this was before he became a federal judge. this is what led the judges in the fifth circuit to write the opinion that i just referred to. the house said he was greeted curator ship in order to get a cable loans and gifts from his friends. they have told you that the judge perceive the relationship, which is news to me and news to the judge. we have never conceded that. however, let's look at the actual witnesses. it was recently testified that the senate allowed us to hold
12:11pm
this hearing. this was his first exposure to a full examination. in that examination, he expressly, and repeatedly, denied there was any correlation between his loans and gifts over the decades of their relationship. that is why you did not see any quotes from the recent deposition being drawn up on the screens by the house. instead they went back years to find better testimony. not that long ago, just a matter of a few weeks, he said he gave money to the judge because they were "close friends." he testified that he never expected any benefits from such small gifts and that judge porteous would never do that.
12:12pm
it was stated repeatedly that, "these gifts had nothing to do with curator ships." he noted in the few times he appeared before the judge that he was ruled against. there was one case where the judge cost him a former thousand dollars judgment -- a $400,000 judgment. this was a model he remembered being told. he said that he did not give money in relationship to the curatorships. he has sworn that. we can disagree with the judge's decision to remain in life mark. the judge had good reason to refuse this -- refer this down the road. when you look at this, most
12:13pm
would see that as a mockery. you cannot burn for 14 judges in three years. you will hear that he had a reputation for hearing type of stain. -- were judges weren't willing to get rid of the case. this is one of the most complex i have ever seen. this very complex case was decided by the judge. by the way, the fifth circuit reversed in part and upheld it in part. they disagree with the judge's ruling. this was a texas panel disagreed with judge porteous on an arcane aspect of louisiana law. i will not explain the arcane of
12:14pm
wall any more than they did for one simple reason. i am not sure i understand it. reviewing this case on leave reaffirmed my decision to be a constitutional law professor. in the end, a disagreement over his judicial decision is woefully insufficient as a basis for removal and would elevate a routine conflict issue to a constitutional clash between two, we will branches of government. -- two coequal branches of government. they would have you remove a judge because of printed evidence. you have two former partners who have now disagreed on the underlying fact, an evidentiary status that would not even meet the lower preponderance in court.
12:15pm
once you strip away all of the rhetoric and want to look at all of the evidence, you will find that the house's solution to this problem was not to increase the evidence to meet the standard, but as you just saw it was to lower the standard to meet the evidence. i turn to article two. in the article two, the house and impeached the judge purely on the basis of pre-federal, but that goes back decades before he became a federal judge. this is what the house's on experts said they could not do. article two alleges that while a state judge, he received "things of value" from bail bonds. he took actions that benefited the brother and sister. notably, not only did the federal government reject this as the basis for a criminal
12:16pm
charge, but the fifth circuit ruled out relying on such acts of the state level as relevant to his position to the federal judge. the allegations and the article two were -- were not part of the fifth circuit inquiry. he did not testify because those judges and past senators treat pre-federal conduct as immaterial to whether he abused his office as a federal judge. the house decision on the bond allocation has continued to evolve. the conflicting evidence has mounted in recent -- recent weeks. as you will see, roughly one week ago, the house stated in their pre-tour of statement that "the house does not allege that judge porteous said -- set any bond too high or too low." despite months of discussing bond amount, the house is now conceding that he did not
12:17pm
manipulate on amounts to assist them. what is left is the fact that he signed bonds as a state judge with them who, by the way, handled 95% or more of bonds going to that state courts. what is left is that he had lunches and received gifts, as did other judges in the district, yet the government does not claim one single bond, not one, was ever sent -- was ever sent by him as too high or too low to assist them. the house concedes that he did not find a single bond for them as a federal judge, not high, not low, not ever as a federal judge. putting aside the fact that his conduct as a state judge is irrelevant to his conduct as a federal judge, article two ignores that judges are not
12:18pm
barred from receiving meals and gifts from lawyers or others. while the house cannot produce any receipts for the gifts or meals, i just told you it could be hundreds of meals, and by that if that is our evidentiary standard, it could be millions. the fact is that we do not have the receipts on record, but we did not deny that judge porteous often had lunges bought for them. they are suggesting that this is "corruption" even if it did not violate judicial ethics. you will hear from all four of the star witnesses that all judges in the small town where regularly bought a lunch and given gifts by lawyers, a bail bondsman, and others. we are not saying that this was a debt of corruption. we are saying that this was lawful. if you go to a lot of small towns, you will see the same
12:19pm
thing. you want to restrict the rules, you can change them. to put into the record opinions that they say it is a good thing for having social relationships between judges and lawyers. this is not new. you will see this, a lot with this recusal. the reports have said to not come to us and say this guy is just a close friend. the house does its best to take a small number of launches -- launches and make it look sinister. the problem is that the house could only come up with six of them.
12:20pm
six. they presented these lunches and basically betrayed the total value of the lunches that went to judge porteous and it looks like he received a considerable amount of money in these lunches. as this display shows, the house was dealing with the totals of meals for large parties where he was just one of many lunch guests. they charged the entire lunch against him. in reality, even if he was present, it would amount to less than two under $50 in five years. i would like to repeat that. $250 in five years. these meals included meals as low as $29. by the way, i said "if he was." the reason i say if is because
12:21pm
they included meals where there is no specific record of him being actually at the lunch. however, their position is that if someone had absolut vodka and he is known to drink it, it must have been him. they added those two in and canada against him. i can tell you in our visit to the beef connection. we were able to confirm that he is not the only person in louisiana who great -- who drinks that brand of vodka. the key fact that they rely on is a notation that someone at this table had two absoluts. they submitted that to use the they could throw it in the next for a refusal of a federal judge. -- recusal.
12:22pm
the house suggests that such meals were intended to influence him and get him to help with bonds. they would get bonds. now they concede that he never set them too high or too low. they did not cite any bonds that were invalid. this guy did not even deserve one. after our deposition, the house had to concede this point. you will hear from both of them that they did not believe judge porteous was influenced by neil's or gifts in the bonds. there was an of beef for bonds. they have both testified that the judge regularly it rejected bond fund them and could not be
12:23pm
bought. he will hear from the criminal court, mr. griffin, that he said any representation made by then the check out with the district attorney, the police, or the jail before the granting of a bond. indeed, you will hear testimony that the judge himself often at the a phone, called the jail or prosecutors to personally make sure that the underlying facts were correct. perhaps the most serious misrepresentation was the trail ranting andrteous' split bonds. a split bond as well known. it is split between a commercial component and a property or third-party components. in this way, a person who may not be able to afford the full or and higher bond could still secure a bond by getting a
12:24pm
family member to put their property up as it should be. despite reputations in this case, judge porteous did not invent split bonds. you will hear testimony that most judges split bonds with the support of the state prosecutor. split bonds were viewed as a way to guarantee the return of prisoners who would otherwise be released under mandatory court order. if you have a bond on the guy, someone will find them because they have a financial interest to. you will hear from former district attorney and a louisiana judge on how and why split bonds were widely used and expect -- and accepted. likewise, the house has alleged that the judge dramatically increased the number of bonds as he was leaving to take the bench. this is a big part of what the house was told before his impeachment.
12:25pm
it is called a floodgates theory. you have heard park today, the you notice that they stopped talking and are talking about an expert on judgment -- expungement. in the last month, in the last day, he issued an unusually high number of bonds as repayment and other benefits from them. the only problem with that the floodgates allegation is that it happens to be completely and demonstrably untrue. it turns out there was only one signed by judge porteous on his last day and 29 in the last month. it was 27 from the time he was confirmed. this is described as the average number of bonds for any period.
12:26pm
that is the floodgates. to dispel any doubt, we asked the clerk to send us a random year from his tenure as a state judge. we selected 1986. we had no intermission on that year other than the fact that it was before they established themselves in the bond business. one went to look them whether this is true is to take a year before they control the business. they had been submitted to the record and showed various months in that year exceeded the number of bonds signed by the judge during the so-called floodgate month in 1994 even though they were not involved. september 1986 shows 51 bonds, far greater than the 19 that were presented in this sinister way, as this must have been a
12:27pm
rush to try and pay back for the beef. moreover, the 1986 record shows a total of 3200 bonds find the zero judges in the district. if we extend that over 10 years, and the numbers should be higher because the town and court system expanded, but let's take the lower figure, but that would mean 32,000 bond passed through while he served on the bench. they were never told what the total was. they were never told they sold more bonds before they were established. suddenly, the floodgates theory is not about bonds, but it is
12:28pm
about two expungement cases. a state judge porteous would not set aside the wallace case because he did not want to do that before u.s. confirmed. the only problem is that it is on true. the conviction was set aside on september 21, 1994, before he was confirmed. not only that, but in the hearing he said he attended -- intended to expand the record before he was confirmed. that was in open court. all that remains in this case is the fact that he signed bonds for them. virtually all of the judge's had signed bonds for them for one simple reason. they reportedly did 95% or more of the bonding in that small
12:29pm
town. virtually no one else was doing bonds there. if you take any judge, you will find roughly 95% of the bonds came from them for that obvious reason. that heear testimony was a national advocate for the use of bonds for the criminal process. it was the case were virtually any prisoner in mint one prisoner out. it was one of the most stringent court orders in the nation. people, thousands, were just vanishing. they would just be told that they are gone.
12:30pm
they often spoke publicly and encouraged them to use bonding, because the chance that someone will return if they have a bond is much higher because you have a bail-jumper who will find them. the only way to get around is if you get a hold over by a police officer. if you put a bond on them, someone has a clear financial interest. studies showed that by getting a bond on any prisoner, the chances that they will end up in court and not be found are much, much higher. in the end, when you take this evidence and strip away the false claims, article two is more than a tale full of fury
12:31pm
signifying nothing. he signed bonds like other judges. let's turn to article 3. we agree with the house managers when they say this is not based on pre-federal contract. article 3 is coming in fact, and non-pre-federal conduct. instead of pre-federal conduct, they argue that he made a series of errors and mistakes that he and his late wife filed in 2001. what is most striking is they're trying to use problems that literally occurred in hundreds of thousands of bankert to cases which you will hear in
12:32pm
testimony. they're trying to take something by saying it would be akin to this is part of a nefarious plan to defraud the bankruptcy court for his creditors. porteous, and i want to emphasize this, paid more than he was scheduled to pay in bankruptcy. he paid more than what he was originally scheduled to pay his creditors. that was never explained to house members. they just talked about errors in bankruptcy. as if that is something new in bankruptcy. he made mistakes in event of the case, but does have nothing to do with the basis of removing him as a federal judge. filed for chapter
12:33pm
13 in 2001. this case was processed like every other case with one exception, and resulted in the successful discharge of a portion of their debt in 2004 after they paid more than $57,000 of which $52,000 went to their creditors. exception i was referring to was that this was scrutinized far more heavily. he had two baker of the judge's to preside over, a chapter 13, -- the department of justice and the fbi specifically met with the bankruptcy trustee while they're bankrupt the case was
12:34pm
still pending. this was not after. they met with the trustee while it was pending and discussed all these allegations. nevertheless, one of these authorities, the bankruptcy judges, the trusty, the fbi, the department of justice took any steps to alter the course of the bankruptcy case. there was no bark to be heard. it did not change the status of the bankruptcy case. what is more, the doj specifically discharge cases in conjunction with this bankruptcy case. finally, none of the creditors ever filed the complaint. they had no problem with this bankruptcy. like manyous', americans, became overwhelmed
12:35pm
which is the result of raising kids, and yet they keep on referring to the fact that they gambled. all right. the secret is out. they gambled for recreation. they probably gambled too much. that is not illegal. with credit card bills mounting, they sought the help from a bankruptcy attorney that the house managers referred it to you earlier, mr. lightfoot. embarrassed about their deteriorated financial situation, they asked him to help "workout or restructure their debt." this was an effort to avoid bankruptcy. they worked for the summer and fall and then they concluded that they would have to declare bankruptcy as they tried to work with the creditors. february 2001, it became clear that they had to file for bankert to.
12:36pm
like many of us, in that case, and most of the people in bankruptcy, they were shown to be a horrible record keepers and obviously bad money managers. that is a fairly common trait when people declare bankruptcy. they tend to have problems with the records. they propose the idea that they file their a virginal. t -- they propose that they file their a regional bankruptcy under a pseudonym. he has testified to that effect. it was an idea to avoid embarrassment for them and their children because they did not want this plastered all over "the times picayune." they publish weekly names of everyone who sought bankruptcy protection.
12:37pm
but camilla was embarrassed by the publicity for the family. while most bankruptcy filers enjoy anonymity through this process which involves so many cases, public for it -- public figures were and are signaled out -- singled out. as public figures, i am sure you can understand that these violins are examined in excruciating detail. they love to read about bankruptcy of famous people. to avoid this, mr. lightfoot proposed that they file the original bankruptcy petition under the pseudonym and they also use they appeal box -- a p.o. box. he has testified that neither heat nor judge korea's ever intended to be from the courts.
12:38pm
there is no evidence that he proposed the changing of his name for this. because he wanted to assist in fraud, but his purpose was obvious. he was trying to protect the family from the initial embarrassment of bankruptcy. when they filed the original papers, this included their true social security numbers. they are very important in bankruptcy because that is what is used to track people in bankruptcy. the trusty later stated that he had seen the use of p.o. boxes. since the name was changed before the notes went to creditors he said, "no harm, no fall -- no foul." no creditors were misled.
12:39pm
the trustee himself said, no harm no foul, and the house makes a great deal about the use. they are used all the time in bankruptcy. and it's not a violation. the house turned around and said maybe no fault, but let's use it to remove the eight federal judge in the history of the republic. they specifically planned to file, as they did within the amended 12 this corrected the name and address. as a result, no credit to received notice without full and accurate information. but in the end, the on the party that did not get information was "the times picayune." they quickly began running the very new story that mr. lightfoot and porteous wanted to
12:40pm
avoid. throughout the process and in connection with the decisions about when information to include in these filings, he relied heavily on mr. lightfoot. most federal judges do not have expertise in bankruptcy. the house as further alleged changes in materials. they argue this must be part of a dark plan to change the system. here again, they simply do not meet the allegations. even if true, it still would not warrant a basis for removal. the house cited small commission
12:41pm
that assets to suggest they were defrauded. they never told house members that they were in the minority of debtors to successfully complete the bank of to. they were the minority. indeed, they provided almost 35% repayment to unsecured creditors with $52,000. you will hear from experts that this is actually significantly more than would have been the case under chapter 7 liquidation. the house relies on the fact that judge 4 yes --judge porteous gave him the stub for his income. he did not update that.
12:42pm
this difference amounted to $173 but that it had no material impact on the creditors. his file shows that the judge did tell them that the net income was $79223 -- $7900. once again, these are very small things that happen in bankruptcy. when you have all of these receipts coming from people who have trouble managing their money. likewise, they cite such errors as the bank one account.
12:43pm
they had as low as $200 in assets, it was somehow like clever design to defraud creditors. does that make sense? $200? then there is the fidelity homestead account. here, you just did not have $200. you had $283. let's round this up. let's say it is $300. will that be relied on for the removal of a federal judge after 16 years of service fact whether it is a tax refund check, these problems are routine. that is what experts will tell you. these errors were not material to the bankruptcy plan such of the business of small-business payments that were not listed. they said there were pre-
12:44pm
petition payments that you should consider to impeach this judge. the problem is that pre-petition payments are legal. while they cite incurring new debt, there is no bar to incurring debt by statute. it is important to remember that the confirmation order was designed to complete and guarantee completion of the payment plan. most people do not completed. the porteous' did. the completed it and paid more. the house mentions errors and mistakes drop the allegations but never mentions that they have no material impact on credit terms who are, after all, the focus of the bank of to process. both of them gambled as their primary form of recreation. it is a practice that porteous judge later stopped with
12:45pm
professional help and have not returned yet. they kept trying to distract the senate without disclosing he louisiana laws governing what are called "markers." that is a marker. that is what you will be hearing about. in the dissent in the porteous case, they objected to the use of markers as evidence of wrongdoing in bankruptcy matters because, and i quote, " markers are considered taxable and louisiana statute and are treated as uncashed checks." should they have continued? no. it was not a problem for the
12:46pm
creditors. it was a personal problem. the judge overcame it. we will be creating a record that was never made in the house on this issue of bankruptcy. you will hear from a professor from the university of washington who will explain important differences between chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies that the house appears to have missed in the earlier discussions. he will show errors like these are quite common in baker to cases and that mistakes had no material harm to creditors. you will hear from a united states bankruptcy judge from the northern portion of illinois who is widely cited and respected in this field. he will explain how chapter 13 cases developed and how judges in bankruptcy rely on trust these -- trustees.
12:47pm
he will explain how there was no authority for barring a creditor from incurring debt, something the house staff did not mention. with a loss of explain that congress has specified that the print will consequence for on authorized debt is that the debt is simply a non-chargeable. non-dischargeable. that is considerably different in the magnitude than being removed in a senate trial as a federal judge. you also hear from the united states. t tres d. we will call a separate trustee. the magistrate is another whose
12:48pm
opinions are cited quite widely. chapter 13 is a voluntary repayment program and the most serious problem results in a threat of a dismissal of the case. that threat is usually withdrawn as soon as the problems are remedied. he will explain how chapter 13 debtors frequently do not complete their plans. most of them fail to fill -- failed to fulfil the plan. they were in the minority to successfully pay, complete, and even pay more to their creditors. none of these issues were explained to the house. instead, they engaged a federal judge on things that did not prevent him from repaid his credit plan. this would take the senate from deciding such car -- crimes as treason to removal of a judge as a $200 discrepancy on a credit
12:49pm
card. let us move to the last article. as with the article two, article four seeks a judge porteous' removal on federal conduct, this time under the guise of a failure to disclose conduct during his confirmation. the standards the house seeks to impose is, frankly, absurdly subjective. did the judge failed to disclose information that he, judge porteous, thought would be embarrassing to president clinton? assuming he thought he had death -- done nothing wrong or inappropriate, which we will present evidence about, he naturally think it would not be embarrassing to him or president clinton. even if the senate comes to the conclusion that judge porteous acted improperly and should have put some of these floating allegations down, it can conclude he thought that these actions were improper and
12:50pm
therefore embarrassing. there is no basis that he intended to deceive. the evidence will show that allegations contained in this article are demonstrably untrue. i am not saying challenged, i am saying on true. for example, the house specifically impeached judge porteous and the failure to mention a brief conversation he had with louis marcotte. you did not hear this in earlier testimony but it was in the article. the house manager said that the judge should be impeached because he failed to mention the conversation when he filled out the form. when he felt that the background form, for example. the only problem as we revealed after the house and peace to
12:51pm
this judge was the conversation happened after the forms were filled out. it was impossible for him to put into these documented conversation that had not yet occurred. moreover, even if you believe that a judge, when someone like marcotte says they give you a clean bill of health. by the way, the most common thing they say, "i give you a clean bill of health," by saying you want to submit a supplemental filing saying someone gives you a clean bill of health even though you think that warrants an impeachment, it could not have happened in this case the way the article has stated indeed, i believe this is the first impeachment that i know of where in fact contained in an article of impeachment simply did not occur.
12:52pm
the embarrassment question, as you know as senators, is universally answered in the-by nominees. even though there are some cases were embarrassing facts are disclosed. testimony from experts will show you what the figures are like on this, with the cases are like. nominees routinely unmet financial -- omit financial and criminal issues that resulted in no action. there were no actions taken against the nominee including some cases where the embarrassing facts were revealed before confirmation and they were confirmed. they were confirmed. furthermore, evidence will show bondsjudge porteous'
12:53pm
issuing was in line with other judges. he did something that all other judges in gretna did. it was not illegal. that is how it was done. finally, we show that the basic allegations contained in article four were known by the fbi and the senate committee before his confirmation. this is precisely why the house's own experts warn that this could not be the basis for removal. the pre-federal conduct referred by the house was not at the time a confirmation. we have put into the record proof of that. house members were never told that before impeachment. once again, this was never discussed or disclosed to the house. we found new evidence before the senate. moreover, were not only on the curatorship matters of public record, he took no effort to
12:54pm
conceal them, they were the same efforts and actions of all of the same judges. you will hear testimony from a professor who is widely viewed not as a leader in the field but the leader in the field. she has numerous books on the confirmation process and background investigations. you will hear testimony about the failure to make disclosures which is common among federal nominees with literally dozens of these cases. as senators, we admit we probably do not have to tell you, you deal with this regular the. you have seen countless such questioning. i dare say that i would be surprised if you know of many questionnaires where someone and to the embarrassment question in the negative. prof mackenzie will show you dozens of cases where it was entered in the negative and the there before a successful car -- confirmation or after from embarrassing things were disclosed not just for judges but also justices.
12:55pm
if this could be the basis of removal, think about it. congress could sit on a background questionnaire and simply remove a judge at will for failure to disclose. you could file this and find things that you now think he should have thought were embarrassing. he could bring them up on the identical article, article four. literally dozens of judges could be removed on the same ground. these are judges sitting today on the federal courts. in this case, the house what to to remove a judge on the failure to disclose information that he did not consider relevant or embarrassing when those allegations were already known by the senate and the fbi. in closing, i will note that in a couple of months of representing judge porteous, we have been able to show fundamental errors, contradictions, and withheld evidence in this case.
12:56pm
this is the peril of concern -- of the continuing to an impeachment without a trial. even if the trial, by the way, acquits a judge, it does not stop you from hearing the impeachment. what it does give you is a 12 record. late last night, we received new evidence long-held by the justice department, literally hours before the proceedings began. the record in this case continues to change not by the week, not by the day, but by the hour. i only submit to you that the impeachment trial should not be works in progress subject to casual or incomplete disclosure. it is more important than that. indeed, we do not believe today we have received all of the material evidence in this case. few senators have been called upon to fulfill this unique role that you have under our constitution.
12:57pm
in the end, you have to decide whether judge porteous warns the extraordinary action of removal for only the eighth time in the history of this republic. the fifth circuit sent to congress this case to consider, four judges took the trouble to write a 49-page opinion morning you, speaking directly to you, that this case would eradicate core constitutional standards that have protected the independence of our court. it should not a core, as some people seem to indicate, said the because everyone is dressed up for an impeachment that it would be a disappointment to dispatched with the accused. but it should not occur or that the managers suggests because you decided to downgrade the constitutional standard to the type of retroactive job interview. the impeachment standard speech
12:58pm
to all judges. you do not have the option of saying, well is close enough" and just remove a judge on innuendo and unproven facts. the house case will be exposed for the first case to a fully adversarial process. please give us the chance. what remains after all the half- truths and distortions melt away will not dictate just the future of this judge but the future standard for all judges. we ask only that you, like for predecessors, my the constitutional line. my colleagues and i are now ready to address these allegations and we are now ready to present the case in defense of the united states judicial court judge j. thomas porteous, jr. >> thank you, counsel. we will take a 15 minute break. when become back, we will take
12:59pm
the first witness. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> at the impeachment trial of new orleans dredger, louis marcotte continued on tuesday. they heard

Terms of Use (10 Mar 2001)